Chilled 100 member Rael Petit recently visited Bolivia to learn about the vineyard and distillery where Steven Soderbergh’s Singani 63 is made, and even prepared a special Singani cocktail for the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales. Here’s what Rael told Chilled about this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Tell us about your recent trip to Bolivia.

I had the opportunity to go to Bolivia to see how and where Singani 63 is made. We landed in La Paz and then headed to Tarija, which is in the south of Bolivia, to visit the vineyard and the distillery where Singani 63 is made. I had the pleasure of meeting the master distiller and the family that owns the distillery/vineyard. Casa Real owns about 65% of the Singani market in Bolivia. The vineyard seems sprawling and beautiful in a desert like environment, but with mountains off in the distance. We picked some of the Muscat of Alexandria grapes, from which Singani is made, and then traced the process all the way through to bottling. To hear the master distiller’s scientific explanation of the process was fascinating.

What was it like meeting the president of Bolivia and actually creating a special Singani cocktail for him?

This was a great experience. I read the day before the event that he signed a treaty to expand the cultivation of cocoa plants, so I created a cocktail using a cocoa syrup that I made using some cocoa leaf that I found in the market, some fresh Granada, Singani 63, egg white, lemon juice, and champagne served inside a Granada fruit as my glassware. I had the pleasure to talk to him about my drink. He was very pleased with the originality of that cocktail.

Talk to us about mixing with Singani 63.

I’ve been creating a multitude of cocktails with Singani for the past three years, some classics and some experimental. It showcases a different layer into the cocktails that I make. It is a very versatile spirit that can either stand alone or mix very well.

What should bartenders know about Singani 63?

It’s very versatile to an extent that I’m able to utilize for classics, experimental, and tiki cocktails. I’ve been having fun creating cocktails with it.

What was your favorite part of your trip to Bolivia?

The Casa Real family allowed me to go for a run around the vineyard during sunrise. I’m a runner, and visiting the vineyard that way is something I will never forget.

What is your favorite way to enjoy Singani 63?

I like to have it as a Martini, using two ounces Singani 63 and one ounce Cocchi Americano, stirred and served in a martini glass with a lemon twist.

Photos by Patricio Crooker